herald

Monday 16 December 2019

The Trump effect as tourist bookings soar in Doonbeg

US President Donald Trump waves to crowds after finishing a
round of golf at his Doonbeg course during last week’s visit
US President Donald Trump waves to crowds after finishing a round of golf at his Doonbeg course during last week’s visit

Doonbeg and its luxury golf resort is already reaping a tourism whirlwind thanks to the three-day visit of US President Donald Trump.

Bookings have soared by up to 30pc across local pubs, restaurants and guest houses, as well as at the golf resort itself, since the west Co Clare facility made global headlines last week by providing the European base for Mr Trump and his D-Day visit to France.

Locals expect the multimillion-euro business boost to surge even more over the next 12 months.

Doonbeg sources revealed inquiries to the golf resort are now running at more than double the level of 2016, while bookings are conservatively up by more than 30pc.

Publicity

More than half the booking inquiries are understood to be from US tour groups and businesses, many for proposed 2020 holidays.

There has also been a spin-off benefit for the village with pubs, restaurants and guest houses confirming surging business since the presidential visit.

Many US holidaymakers have now added an excursion to Doonbeg from the nearby Cliffs of Moher as a consequence of Mr Trump's visit.

Igoe Inn owner Caroline Kennedy, said it had been an amazing few weeks for Doonbeg.

"It was absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it's great publicity for the village," she said.

"The golf club brings in visitors and supports other businesses, and it has a huge knock-on effect in the town."

Tubridy's Pub owner Tommy Tubridy echoed those views.

"It has been great few days for the area," he said.

It spells yet more good news for Doonbeg, which had already flagged that it expected a strong return to operating profits in 2019.

Doonbeg has expanded its workforce from 200 to more than 220, with a €1.4m investment in the golf course and hotel/spa helping to further boost booking levels.

Mr Trump added the Doonbeg Resort to his family's property portfolio in 2014 for a reported fee of less than €10m.

It proved a very shrewd investment, as Doonbeg was last year valued at around €40m thanks to its emergence as one of the most in-demand courses in Ireland.

The facility recorded a loss of €2m in 2016, but last year had slashed that loss to €330,000 thanks to a 15pc hike in revenues and increased bookings.

Doonbeg's owner, Trump International Hotel and Golf Links, has predicted substantially increased turnover from 2018 and a return to profitability.

Doonbeg is managed by Joe Russell, who said the Trump family involvement had been "great for Doonbeg".

Doonbeg Community Development Association said the Trump involvement in the local resort and the visit by the president has been a remarkable boost for the village.

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